Marjorie Klemm brings several years of finance and business experience to the table, but for City Council's 4th Ward, she believes her 50 years of residence could be a big asset.
"I've lived in the same neighborhood for 50 years," she said. "I've lived in the area long enough to relate to the area's problems."
The mother of one and grandmother of three has 22 years experience with H&R Block, now at The Highlands, where she is a tax class instructor and enrolled agent with the Internal Revenue Service. She owns a home-based business named MAK Accounting Service. She said this experience could make her a good candidate to serve on council's finance committee.
Prior to her accounting work, she was an adjunct instructor at West Virginia Northern Community College, where she was also the assistant business manager. Before its sale in the 1980s, she was controller of the Clarke Paper Co. in South Wheeling.
From her perspective as a businesswoman, she said the city's Business and Occupation tax - an issue discussed by other council candidates - should remain in place for the short term. She said over time, the tax could be partially replaced with a different revenue generator.
"At this point the city has to balance the revenues with its expenses," Klemm said, citing the importance of the B&O tax in keeping the city from going into debt. "Something has to replace it, but I don't know how that can be done yet."
As a long-time resident, she recalls the importance of the weekly Wheeling Jamboree as a major factor in economic development. She said the absence of the once popular show, which now runs regularly at the Strand Theatre in Moundsville, has made a major impact on retail and food service businesses.
She said if Wheeling can get its own version of the Jamboree back in the Friendly City, at least on a smaller scale, it can again become a factor in economic development. If done right, she said, some Jamboree line-ups could even fill seats at WesBanco Arena.
If not the Jamboree, then Klemm said she would support filling more downtown office space, which she believes could entice small retail and business development. She added the city should eye opportunities with marketing space to natural gas companies, not so much for drilling operations but for business headquarters or regional offices.
Additionally, she supports the demolition of city-owned structures in the 1100 block of Main and Market streets. She said much of the space should be used for parking, which she believes will attract more businesses to occupy nearby unused buildings.
On the topic of parking in the downtown, she said more metered off-street parking lots should be explored to replace on-street parking meters. She said removing meters on the street could go a long way in beautifying downtown.